Tourist, 21, dies after being 'sexually assaulted and thrown off bridge' at fairytale German castle

Both women were thrown into a gorge, according to reports. Credit: AP

An American man has been arrested after a 21-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and thrown off a bridge at one of Germany's most famous tourist attractions, authorities have said.

The 30-year-old man met the two women, ages 21 and 22, on a hiking path near Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, a picturesque landmark that served as inspiration for Disney's 1959 film Sleeping Beauty.

He lured them onto a trail on Wednesday that leads to a viewpoint, police said in a statement, then “physically attacked” the younger woman.

When her companion tried to intervene, he choked her and pushed her down a steep slope.

The assailant then appears to have attempted to sexually assault the 21-year-old before pushing her down the slope as well.

She fell nearly 50 metres (165 feet), ending up close to her friend.

Neuschwanstein Castle served as inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Credit: AP

The mountain rescue service rescued both women.

The 22-year-old was “responsive” and taken to a hospital, police said, while the 21-year-old was flown by helicopter to a hospital with serious injuries and died there overnight.

The suspect fled the scene but was arrested nearby shortly afterward, and German authorities have not yet identified any of those involved.

Under German law, suspects must be brought before a judge at a closed-doors hearing by the end of the calendar day after their arrest if investigators intend to keep them in custody.

Police said a judge in nearby Kempten on Thursday ordered him held pending a potential indictment and he was taken to jail.

He is under investigation on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and a sexual offense.

A large-scale police operation was launched at the tourist attraction.

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